Sidewalk Sleeping Restrictions Would Protect Kids and Families
Re: “Mar Vista Residents Send an S.O.S. at Homelessness Forum,” News, Nov. 14
In regards to “Motion to Amend LAMC 41.18,” Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin is confusing the matter by saying that Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s proposal to amend the city’s “no sleeping on a sidewalk” ordinance will just shift the homeless problem to other locations. That is the point of the motion — to shift the negative aspects of encampments away from vulnerable children and people with disabilities.
The motion would ban sidewalk sleeping 500 feet from a park, a school, a childcare center and other sensitive locations. I would add prohibition against sleeping on public property within 300 feet of any structure in residential use, in order to protect families. This is not criminalizing homelessness. Such restrictions are designed to protect children and provide them safe passage to and from home, schools, and public parks.
Bonin’s support of keeping the status quo while development of “supportive housing” drags on means there will be no solution for many years, if ever. We will continue to chase the problems of invited vagrancy that only get in the way of helping those that truly need, want and will accept services.
While Bonin holds onto his narrative that more supportive housing is the only way to solve the issue, the problem only continues to escalate out of control — leaving Venice and Mar Vista residents to bear the burden of dangerous conditions while Pacific Palisades, Brentwood and even Westchester are relatively free of homelessness.
Transparency Facilitates Improvement
Re: “Is Your School as Good as You Think?” Opinion, Oct. 31
Jenny Hontz makes a great case for tracking student improvement in public schools. Schools that are doing a great job helping historically underserved students to catch up academically need to be recognized and replicated. I was sad to see the LAUSD board vote down the School Performance Framework, but was happy to see them respond to pressure from parents and education organizations such as Speak Up to release student growth data to the public. Every kid deserves a great education, and we need data transparency to know how to best improve our schools.